By Michael Hutton 

Contact lenses for children  worn only while sleeping not only correct short-sightedness - where distant objects appear blurred - but can also stop the short-sight getting worse. These new custom-designed small lenses utilise the optical science of orthokeratology - otherwise referred to as ortho-k - which gently flattens the surface of the eye during sleep using the mild pressure of closed eyelids. When the lenses are removed each morning, light entering the eye focuses directly on the retina rather than in front of it so that distance vision is clear and sharp. This flattening effect lasts for over 24 hours so the child enjoys perfect natural vision all day long until the lenses are reinserted at night.

As we slowly emerge from the long dark days of winter, children will be spending more time outdoors and the brighter daylight of spring and summer has been shown by clinical research to slow the rate at which the vision of short-sighted children continues to deteriorate. A recent study published by the American Academy of Optometry reported on a trial with Chinese children which showed that short-sightedness worsened by some 60% less during spring and summer when compared with winter. Yet with the new ortho-k contact lenses for children , continued deterioration of their eyesight can be avoided altogether. Unlike glasses and conventional daytime contact lenses, overnight ortho-k lenses stop the eye from elongating which is why short-sightedness occurs.

Clinical research  from numerous studies around the world has shown that ortho-k contact lenses for children  not only correct short-sightedness - they stop it getting worse. Otherwise, the rapidly worsening incidence of myopia (the technical term for short-sightedness) around the world could see around half the population affected by the condition. Of particular concern is that once diagnosed in a young child, myopia will continue to worsen by around half a diopter every year through to adulthood meaning that by the time the child reaches their early 20s their prescription could be very high. High levels of myopia are associated with serious eye health conditions in later life such as glaucoma and retinal detachment.

 

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